Decision Day has come and gone, and the MLS playoffs are set. Los Angeles FC throughout the season showed the league that it was the standard. Led by MVP favorite Carlos Vela, LAFC knocked off the Colorado Rapids, 3-1. With the victory, LAFC set the record for most points in a single season with 72 and tied the record for most goals scored in a season by a team with 85. Vela broke and extended the single-season goal-scoring record with his hat trick inside of an hour. Vela finished the season with 34 goals and ran away with the MLS Golden Boot.
The other Los Angeles club, the Galaxy, once again fell to defeat after Zlatan Ibrahimovic got things going against the Houston Dynamo inside of 10 minutes. The wheels fell off for the Galaxy, conceding four of the next five goals. The Galaxy will enter the MLS Cup Playoffs with a little bit of a limp after failing to gain victory in their last two matches. Entering the playoffs with a limp is something FC Dallas will not be doing. FC Dallas will enter the playoffs off the heels of a 6-0 beatdown of Sporting Kansas City. The FC Dallas victory, coupled with the Portland Timbers knocking off the San Jose Quakes, assured the Quakes will not be in the playoffs this season.
The premier matchup took place in the East, where New York City FC knocked off the Philadelphia Union, keeping the Union in the third spot in the East. With Josef Martinez back from a knee and ankle injury, Atlanta United looks to roar into the playoffs and capture the MLS Cup for the second consecutive season. Martinez scored just after the start of the second half to get the Five Stripes rolling to victory. Now that Martinez has returned, look for the defending MLS Cup Champions to enter the playoffs with a nice bit of momentum.
With the majority of the playoff spots being set before decision day, the storylines coming into the final game weren’t too plentiful. However, two legendary goalkeepers will be hanging up their cleats. Both Tim Howard and Nick Rimando announced that their careers would be over at the end of the season. After this Sunday, two of the biggest goalkeeping names in American soccer are no more as both the Rapids and Real Salt Lake failed to make the playoffs.
United States men’s national team vs. Cuba – 7 p.m. (FS1)(CONCACAF Nations League)
With the playoffs taking a week off before getting started, stay tuned to Cincinnati Soccer Talk as we take a look at the offseason ahead for FC Cincinnati.